Jerry Coyne has offered a response in the pages of Quillette to David Gelernter’s provocative article, “Giving Up Darwin.” Gelernter rejected the standard model of neo-Darwinian evolution for a simple reason: he looked at three pieces of scientific evidence that appeared to be incompatible with that model.
In this brief, accessible foray, popular math/science writer Berlinski (Newton’s Gift) breathes life into an ancient mathematician and the world of axioms and theorems he created — a geometric world that became the basis for much of modern math, from analytic geometry to the idea of curved space-time. To Berlinski, Euclid’s fourth-century B.C., 13-volume Elements is a manifestation of his Read More ›
In an essay published recently on National Review Online, John Derbyshire has declared that the documentary Expelled contains a blood libel against Western Civilization. His is an exercise of striking vulgarity, the more so since, as he insouciantly admits, he has not “seen the dang thing.” A blood libel, one might recall, refers to the charge that the Jewish people are irredeemably stained Read More ›
At sometime after the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin first entered space, stories began to circulate that he had been given secret instructions by the Politburo. Have a look around, they told him. Suitably instructed, Gagarin looked around. When he returned without having seen the face of God, satisfaction in high circles was considerable. The commissars having vacated the scene, it Read More ›
One man — Charles Darwin — says: “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals…” Another man — Adolf Hitler — says: Let us kill all the Jews of Europe. Is there a connection? Yes obviously is the answer of the historical record and common sense. Published in 1859, Darwin’s On the Origin Read More ›
When physicists write books for the general public, they write about black holes, dark matter, or strings that wriggle like mad. The universe is their subject. Mathematicians write about mathematics and what it all means. Their subject is their subject. The mathematician David Ruelle is well known for his work on nonlinear dynamics and turbulence, and his new book, “The Read More ›
Even as our understanding has advanced dramatically, our explanations of how life emerged on earth continue to rest on yet-to-be-proved…
February 1, 2006
I suspect it would be more prudent to recall how much has been assumed: First, that the pre-biotic atmosphere was chemically reductive; second, that nature found a way to synthesize cytosine; third, that nature also found a way to synthesize ribose; fourth, that nature found the means to assemble nucleotides into polynucleotides; fifth, that nature discovered a self-replicating molecule; and sixth, that having done all that, nature promoted a self-replicating molecule into a full system of coded chemistry. These assumptions are not only vexing but progressively so, ending in a serious impediment to thought.
More than sixty years after the famous Galileo “The Earth it Moves” trial in Rome, Copernicus is in the news again, this time in the form of a so-called theory of universal gravitation (or UG, as it has come to be known). Headquartered at the Royal Society, a think tank in London funded by well-heeled royalist donors, members of the Read More ›
We are animals in our appetites, and animals again in our instincts and emotions. We are animals in biology. Blood is blood, tissue is tissue, and cells are cells; and when everything is stripped away, we are animals in the organization of our genes, mindful now that but for a few alterations of the human genome, we might well be Read More ›
To the Editor The Times Literary Supplement The RNA World Sir: Having with indignation rejected the assumption that the creation of life required an intelligent design, Mr Fletcher has persuaded himself that it has proceeded instead by means of various chemical scenarios. These scenarios all require intelligent intervention. In his animadversions, Mr Fletcher suggests nothing so much as a man disposed to denounce alcohol while sipping sherry. The RNA world to which Mr Fletcher has pledged his allegiance was introduced by Carl Woese, Leslie Orgel and Francis Crick in 1967. Mystified by the appearance in the contemporary cell of a chicken in the form of the nucleic acids, and an egg in the form of the proteins, Woese, Orgel and Read More ›
Hey Don — I want you should do me a favor. I noticed that you put up this real negative review of Steve Meyer’s Signature in the Cell on Amazon. I want to tell you, I loved the stuff about the slow fuse and all. It brought back memories of the time Boom Boom Salacio was a Senior Fellow at the DI. The Putznagel Salami Fire? That was Boom Boom. We all miss the Big Guy at the DI. But here’s the thing. The moment your review hit the stands, bang! sales of Meyer’s book go through the roof. I mean you’re taking Boom Boom to a whole new level. So I was thinking that maybe you could give my Read More ›